For Mavs, draft again shaping up as prelude to free agency

DALLAS (AP) -- The Mavericks have the 21st pick in the NBA draft Thursday night and three openings in their starting lineup after Monta Ellis' decision to opt out of his contract.
President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson doesn't figure to find a cornerstone late in the first round and says Dallas' needs are widespread enough that the "best player" approach will apply.
But Nelson also says good point guards should be available where Dallas is picking. The Mavericks are losing Rajon Rondo to free agency after a failed trade with Boston last season, and Ellis handled those duties some as well.
Dallas also has the 52nd overall pick in the second round a year after not having a selection because of a pre-draft trade with the Knicks for Tyson Chandler.

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